Thursday, August 04, 2005

Carlo Banaag of Manila Bulletin describes what GMA-7 is doing wrong:

The truth in the "Kapuso" slogan, therefore, is undeniable. GMA-7 does have a finger on the pulse of the people and is thus able to supply what the multitudes want, when they want it.

It is telling, however, that the network’s motto no longer mentions any higher purpose or social responsibility. Abandoning "Service to man and for the glory of God," slogan, GMA-7 now appears to aspire for nothing beyond pandering to the desires of the mass audience in order to increase ratings and revenues. Sadly, the lack of altruism indicated in the "Kapuso" catchphrase seems to be borne out in the network’s programs and practices.

Examples can be found in the area of children’s programming. In place of award-winning educational shows like "Sesame Street" and "Blues Clues," GMA-7 now airs cartoons. As a result, morning ratings have shot up. Obviously, kids want cartoons. But is that what they need? Whereas ABS-CBN put its money into productions like "Sineskwela" and "MathTinik," GMA-7 has nothing comparable to these programs, despite having overtaken ABS-CBN in profits.

"Quality" programming has also fallen by the wayside. Gone are the telemovies and drama anthologies in which writers and directors at least attempted to be creative, artistic or thought-provoking as well as entertaining. Instead GMA-7 seeks to tickle viewers with comedies and gag shows that are practically unscripted and only barely directed. The fantasy soap operas are expensive; but as entertainment, they are more closely related to the circus than to great television like "Angels in America."

Mel Tiangco’s "Magpakailanman," which could have stood as the last bastion of quality, has been reduced to a publicity vehicle for minor personalities, extending their 15 minutes of fame to an excruciating hour and a half.